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Cyberspace Atwitter Over "Twitter"

Blogophile is written by CBSNews.com's Melissa P. McNamara


Can You Be Too Connected?

Do you Twitter? If you don't yet, Silicon Valley is hoping, and predicting, you will soon. The mini-blogging service for mobile phones is one of the most blogged about items, and many say it will be huge hit with consumers, on the scale of YouTube or MySpace.

Twitter calls itself a "global community of friends and strangers answering one simple question: What are you doing?" How does it work? According to Twitter's blog, when you send in a mobile text message, Twitter sends it out to your group of friends and posts it to your Twitter page. If your friends don't have their phone alerts turned on, they can check your Web page instead.

While the service launched last summer, use of Twitter started to take off in the middle of March after it was adopted by technology bloggers attending the South by Southwest conference in Texas, the Financial Times reports. Word of mouth spread quickly after.

What do bloggers like about Twitter? "You'll be amazed how addicting it is keeping up with everything that your friends are doing at any given time of the day," a blogger at Mobasoft, LLC writes.

"If you're the kind of person who feels lonely in a crowded room because your Internet connection is down, Twitter is a godsend," John Pavley blogs at context Web. "Now you can let everyone important (your online buddies) know your status every moment of the day. If you have the time and energy."

Twitter has won over some skeptics, too. "OK, OK. I give up. I'm on Twitter. When I first heard about Twitter, I thought it was just a way to render SMS as useful as e-mail (which is to say, not very)," Rick Klau blogs. "But as with many tools that are now an indispensable part of my online life (RSS, Flickr, Youtube, Gmail, Facebook, Google Desktop, for starters), I'm finally coming around to see what all the fuss is about."

Chris Pirillo mocks some of the glowing praise about Twitter with his own top ten list of the things Twitter can do. For example, it can "detect the presence of anthrax" and "find lost pets," he blogs.

But Twitter hasn't won over just everyone yet. "The postings ranged from silly, inane, comments that have nothing to do with the intent of the service to over-the-top detail about lives that I really didn't want to know that well," CDogg blogs at Riding With The Windows Down.

And The Tubey Goes To...

Can YouTube bring the red carpet to the online video world? Perhaps. YouTube announced the winners of its first annual video awards on Monday. Sure you could question whether this country really needs yet another award, but this one has won over the blogosphere with a new group of cyberstars.

YouTube's creators explain the impetus for the awards: "2006 was a pioneering year for online video, user-created content and the YouTube community. You let us into your bedrooms, created new forms of entertainment, and radicalized popular culture. Now it's time to reflect on what a tremendous year it was and recognize the best of the best during the first YouTube Video Awards."

As Kris Abel blogs, "It was a celebration of pseudonyms, of clips that spanned the gamut from crass to creative, comedic to clichéd, but thankfully neither works that infringed copyright nor clips created for humiliation."

Among some of the winners was the comedy duo Smosh — comprised of Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox — won best comedy award for their video about a man who pretends to be stranded on the beach for 53 days, but is actually surrounded by many people.

Singer-songwriter Terra Naomi stole the award of best music video for her song "Say It's Possible." Terra is the third most subscribed-to musician on YouTube, and her online fame is paying off. She has already signed with Island Records and the first single on her album is due in June.

The band OK Go took home most creative video for the singing group's choreographed rendition of their song "Here It Goes Again," performed on treadmills.

The Most Adorable video went to "Kiwi," a clip about a flightless bird that spends his entire life looking for a way to fly. Many bloggers gave it two thumbs up. "To think that a student did this for his master's thesis was nice to know, since Youtube prides itself in being the platform for showing amateur videos...," a blogger at Six Degrees of Inspiration blogs.

But not everyone thinks the awards are such a great idea. "Since when did something so beautiful like an online video community, a place where people could go and put up almost anything they want for the world to see and take, turn into a popularity contest?," Filthy Fowl blogs at New York Hate of Mine. "I don't want to vote on any one video being more funny, inspiring or creative than another. The community was there so everyone could find something for them. Now, it's just another version of the academy awards, grammys, cable ace, or whatever award you want to compare it to."

As for the winners, they will receive a trophy and bragging rights, of course.

A Blogger Remembered

Cathy Seipp is one of the most talked about people on blogs this week, after losing her battle with lung cancer. Last weekend, nearly 1,000 bloggers were searching for Seipp, a fellow blogger.

Seipp, a nonsmoker who was diagnosed with lung cancer five years ago, was the woman behind "Cathy's World," a popular blog, and wrote the "From the Left Coast" column for National Review Online and a monthly column for the conservative Independent Women's Forum.

Seipp often wrote about her battle against cancer, as well, and the ups and downs of fighting the disease. For example, on March 2, she posted, "The bad news is that three weeks of daily radiation, plus chemo, plus all the other boring stuff that goes along with this whole big adventure, has taken its toll."

Many bloggers reflected on Seipp's sense of humor and spirit. "Adieu, Cathy Seipp. She made the world a better place and exemplified good sense, good humor and class," a blogger at To God and My County writes.

A blogger at Celebrity Insider notes that Seipp's blog would routinely receive hundreds of comments because she had such a strong connection with her readers. "Her presence online, in backyards across the Eastside, and at the LA Press Club meetings will be sorely missed," Celebrity Insider adds.

Many bloggers call her a pioneer in the online world. "She loved the mashup of old and new journalism worlds, and tried repeatedly to get me and others to pay attention to what was happening...Cathy, you won't be forgotten," Shadyz blogs at Interesting Facts.

Zaphod at With Malice Toward None reflected the sentiment of many, blogging "I would have liked to have known her."

Her memory is alive online.

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By Melissa McNamara

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